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An Investigation into the Length of the String on the Time of Swing for a Pendulum

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An Investigation into the Length of the String on the Time of Swing for a Pendulum Theory A pendulum is a body, suspended by string or similar, which swings from side to side. The pendulum only works when the bob is raised at an angle from point at which it is vertically suspended at rest. By raising the bob, the pendulum gains Gravitation Potential Energy (GPE), because when it is raised, it is held above its point of natural suspension and so is acting against gravity. Once the bob is released, gravity is able to act on it, pulling it downwards towards its original hanging point. As it is released, the GPE is converted into Kinetic Energy (KE), which makes the pendulum to swing. Once the bob returns to its original point of suspension, the GPE has been totally converted into KE, causing the bob to continue moving past its pivot and up to a height roughly equal to the height it was released at. However, it never reaches the exact height it was released from, because some energy is lost as heat through friction (on the pivot, which can be eradicated depending on how it suspended, and on the air). ...read more.


2. Measure the string out to the desired length. 3. Holding the pendulum at the maximum length of the string, release it at an angle of elevation from the clamp stand (vertical) of 40�. 4. Record the time pendulum to swing away, and then back, stopping the clock when the pendulum is just starting to swing away for the second time. 5. Repeat the experiment twice, to ensure accurate results, and minimise anomalies. When I carry out the experiment, I will obtain a time for each of the nine lengths of string I will be using, and I will carry out the experiment three times in total. I will take an average from the groups of three results, and these averages will be the values I will use in my graphs, and comment on later. The readings will be taken with a digital stopwatch, though due to human reaction times, 0.2 seconds will be added to the average times. This value was found by testing as part of the preliminary work. A 'no go' area of 2 metres will be enforced, in order to protect other pupils in the vicinity. ...read more.


* Human reaction time. Depending on human reaction time, the times could have been measured inaccurately, due to slow reactions when setting the stop-clock etc. This could be improved by using two people to time the pendulum, to get a more accurate reaction time. I believe the procedure is fine as it is, except I would have liked to have used a light gate and timer to record the time of swing more accurately, without the inconsistencies related to recording them manually, using a stopwatch. This could have solved the minor discrepancies in the data. I believe I can safely say that my evidence is sufficient to support my conclusion that; the only factor which affects the time of swing of a simple pendulum, is its length, and that the longer the string, the longer the swing. If I were to continue my investigation, I would collect additional results, to improve the accuracy of my current results, and to give a broader range of values, to back up my conclusion further. I would also consider using a light gate and timer to record the time of swing more accurately, without the inconsistencies related to recording them manually, using a stopwatch. ...read more.

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